James Ford Rhodes (18481927). History of the Civil War, 18611865 1917.
UNTIL the spring of 1862 the government of Great Britain preserved the neutrality which had been declared by the Queens proclamation at the commencement of the war; and this neutrality would not have been violated had the feeling of the dominant classes been friendly to the North. The main body of the aristocracy and the highest of the middle class desired that the great democracy should fail, partly because it was a democracy, partly because it enacted high protective tariffs, partly because of sympathy with a people who desired release from what they deemed a position of irksome political subordination and partly because the division of a great power like the United States, which had frequently threatened Great Britain with war, would redound to their political advantage; but with the portion of the middle class engaged in commerce and manufactures, the desire that overshadowed all others was that the war should come to an end so that England could again secure cotton and resume the export of her manufactured goods to America. The North could terminate the war by the recognition of the Southern Confederacy; and the irritation was great over her persistence in the seemingly impossible task of conquering five and one-half millions of people. Conquer a free population of 3,000,000 souls? the thing is impossible, Chatham had said, and this was applied with force to the case in hand.